5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – we are delighted to share our last ‘Countdown to Reception’. School will soon start in September and we, at Lyonsdown, are really looking forward to welcoming all of our new girls into our Reception class!
We have some final suggestions for how you can best support your daughter’s transition to school during these last few weeks. There is also plenty of time to recap on all of the helpful tips that we have provided over the last four months – you can revisit and re-read all our advice here.
Let’s be practical: Let’s talk labelling and losing things!
We really hope that you have been able to encourage your daughter to become more independent over the last few months. We have given you plenty of tips to help encourage her to put on her coat for outside play (re-watch our coat trick advice here), as well as tips for getting dressed and undressed in readiness for PE lessons.
The next step is to encourage her to be responsible for her belongings as she will be expected to do this at school. Each child will have their own coat and bag hooks – and your daughter will be asked to use them every day to keep her belongings together. Over the next few weeks, try and encourage her to put her shoes in the right place when she takes them off, and to let her find them when she needs to put them on. She will soon learn that if she puts them in the same place she will find them more easily and then be able to go out and play quicker! The same for her coat and hat. Try not to tidy up behind her; instead let her see that she must begin to try do this herself, if she doesn’t do so already. This will mean that school is less of a surprise – that the teachers don’t just pick up things after her, just like her family may do!
We know that this may be the time that you are busy sewing or ironing labels into your daughter’s school kit. If you haven’t yet had time to do this, we strongly encourage you to get this all done ahead of your daughter starting school. Reception classrooms are busy places and there will be lots of identical PE kit, shoes and school uniform. The labels aren’t just for us, as a school, to be able to identify and return clothes to their rightful owners; they are also there for the children themselves to begin to look after their belongings and develop independence. Take time to show your daughter where all of the labels are – in her bags and clothing – so she can try and find them and look after her belongings herself.
Development tip: Encouraging sharing and taking turns.
Last month we encouraged you to develop your daughter’s listening skills. Listening is an important part of school life, and it is particularly important for helping to make friends. Another key aspect to making friends is sharing and taking turns. Sharing teaches children how to compromise and co-operate, as well as understanding fairness and how to cope with, or negotiate around, disappointment.
Here are some things that you can do to help your daughter develop good sharing skills ahead of starting school:
- Talk about why sharing is kind and an important thing to do. Mention to her that sharing will be an important part of school life, so that she is ready and prepared for this to be the case.
- Praise good sharing. Give her, or anyone else in the family, plenty of praise and positive reinforcement when they share well.
- Help them with sharing language. Encourage her to find the right words to negotiate sharing – for example, ‘I would like a turn please’, ‘when you are finished, please can I have it’, or ‘I’m not finished with this yet’ and ‘when I’m finished, I will give it to you’.
- Play games. Try to play games that involve sharing or turn-taking. Jenga or Ker-Plonk are both good sharing games – as they involve taking turns and watching others take a turn can be as exciting as it is to take a turn themselves.
- Model good sharing. As a family you probably share lots of things without thinking, but try to highlight this by calling out good sharing so that your children can see the benefits this brings and how natural it is to do.
Family tip: This is a big change for you too!
Regardless of whether this is your first child joining school, your last child, or one of many in your family, we know and understand that parents and guardians often need a little bit of support to help re-adjust too!
Last month we recommended trying out the school run as many times as you could – this is not just good for practical reasons, but also for getting yourselves emotionally ready too.
The first day of school is a big day for you all. We suggest you try to make the morning as relaxed as possible by setting everything out the night before, so you aren’t rushing around trying to find a lost hairband or book bag. Schedule plenty of time for your ‘first day of school’ pictures too – so you can capture that moment whilst still getting to school in good time. Everyone is different and you may have work to go to, or other commitments. If you don’t have anything planned for the morning, do think about how you might spend your time so that you can have an enjoyably distracting morning whilst your daughter is enjoying her day too.
It will be really exciting for you when you pick your daughter up after her first day at school, and you will inevitably want to know everything that has gone on during the day. Although it is tempting, try not to ask her lots of questions as she may be quite tired! Remember, if you want more details, you can always speak with her teacher, or watch the school’s social media or communication channels, to find out more about what she has been enjoying.
Finally, we hope that the library of book recommendations have helped your family by providing opportunities to discuss starting school. This month we suggest ‘Starting School’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. After reading the books you could ask her questions such as; how did they feel about starting school? Was there anything they were worried about? How did they feel at the end?
We hope that you have found our Little Lyons Launchpad ‘Countdown to Reception’ tips useful – if you would like any further information about joining Lyonsdown’s Reception class, please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, but in the meantime we wish your daughter the very best start to school life.